Social acceptance of alcohol consumption makes it difficult at times to differentiate between recreational drinking and a real problem with alcoholism. People that drink regularly often have a high tolerance level for alcohol. As a result, the amount of liquor that they can consume before manifesting signs of inebriation can hide the fact that they have a drinking problem.
Alcoholism has been classified by the American Medical Association as a brain disorder that drive compulsive and uncontrollable drinking despite negative consequences. Habitual use of alcohol eventually present physical and psychological conditions that without timely treatment can be fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 75,000 Americans die annually as a direct result of alcohol abuse. CDC studies also suggest that cirrhosis of the liver, cancer and other diseases linked to drinking too much beer, wine and spirits shortened the lifespan of 34,833 people in 2001 alone by at least 30 years.
To curb these alarming statistics, it is important to increase public awareness of the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse. Expanded cognizance of the warning signs and the dangers associated with this addiction may encourage more people to address alcohol use disorders sooner than later. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, alcoholism or alcohol use disorders is characterized by at least three of the following warning signs of alcoholism if they are experienced during a one-year time period.
Regular consumption of unsafe levels of alcohol. This is manifested by the need to always drink more or longer than intended.
Drinking has threatened or been the cause of neglect of significant relationships, school, work, social and recreational activities.
Attempts to stop drinking has resulted in mild to severe withdrawal symptoms that repeatedly thwart sobriety goals.
On more than one occasion, drinking too much has put both the drinker and others in harms way.
Alcohol consumption persist despite the manifestation of alcohol related physical and or psychological conditions that has the potential to be life-threatening.
An obsessive preoccupation with seeking and consuming alcohol leads to more than normal time spent in recovering from the effects of alcohol.
The amount of alcohol consumed is consistently increasing and is significantly more now than at the first drinking event.
Financial well-being has been negatively impacted as a direct result of drinking habits.
Consumption of alcohol has led to problems with the law.
Alcoholism is a progressive condition that develops over a period of time. Many people, including family and friends who observe the changing patterns of alcohol consumption in their loved ones often wait until the disease has reached maturity before addressing the problem. Although halting an alcohol use disorder at the onset of the addiction is preferably, alcohol treatment programs are designed to help people at all stages of this condition to restore balance to lives spiraling out of control due to alcohol abuse. The alcohol treatment process provides a safer environment and medical oversight for people trying to stop habitual drinking. Cognitive behavioral therapy and various other treatment modalities augment a comprehensive continuum of care for alcoholism. The ultimate goal of the alcohol rehabilitation process is to help stop the addiction and provide the tool and techniques that will enable sustainable sobriety.
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